bite

1 of 2

verb

bit ˈbit How to pronounce bite (audio) ; bitten ˈbi-tᵊn How to pronounce bite (audio) also bit; biting ˈbī-tiŋ How to pronounce bite (audio)

transitive verb

1
a
: to seize especially with teeth or jaws so as to enter, grip, or wound
was bitten by a dog
b
: to wound, pierce, or sting especially with a fang or a proboscis
getting bitten by mosquitoes
a snake bit his leg
2
: to cut or pierce with or as if with an edged weapon
bit by his sword
3
: to cause sharp pain or stinging discomfort to
the sleet biting our faces
4
: to take hold of
help the pliers bite the part
5
archaic : to take in : cheat

intransitive verb

1
: to bite or have the habit of biting something
This cat bites.
2
of a weapon or tool : to cut, pierce, or take hold
bites down on the part
The anchor bites into the ocean floor.
3
: to cause irritation or smarting
Her criticisms really bite.
4
5
a
of fish : to take a bait
The fish aren't biting today.
b
: to respond so as to be caught (as by a trick)
c
: to accept a suggestion or an offer
offered them a deal but they wouldn't bite
6
: to take or maintain a firm hold
The anchor didn't bite well.
7
: to produce a negative effect
the recession began to bite
8
chiefly US slang, sometimes vulgar : to be objectionable or extremely bad in quality : stink, suck
This song bites.
9
US slang : to imitate or copy (someone or something) especially without permission
There are lots of rappers biting his style—but there's only one James Brown!Spin
biter noun

bite

2 of 2

noun

plural bites
1
a
: the act of biting
took a bite of the sandwich
felt a bite at the end of the fishing line
b
: the manner of biting
especially, dentistry : occlusion sense 1b
wore braces to correct her bite
2
: food: such as
a
: the amount of food taken at a bite : morsel
couldn't eat another bite
b
: a small amount of food : snack
have a bite to eat
3
archaic
a
b
4
: a wound made by biting
The bite became infected.
5
: the hold or grip by which friction (see friction sense 1b) is created or purchase (see purchase entry 2 sense 3a(1)) is obtained
6
: a surface that creates friction or is brought into contact with another for the purpose of obtaining a hold
7
a
: a keen incisive quality
a writing style that lacks bite
a satirical bite
b
: a sharp penetrating effect
The soup has a peppery bite.
the bite of the wind on our cheeks
8
etching : a single exposure of an etcher's plate to the corrosive action of acid
9
: an amount (as of money) taken usually in one operation for one purpose : share
a 15 percent bite for his manager
10
: sound bite
a 10-second news bite
11
: an expression of interest in something being offered
In seven previous days, the seller didn't get a single bite [=no one expressed interest in buying what was offered].Jerry Garrett et al.
Phrases
bite off more than one can chew
: to undertake more than one can handle
bite one's tongue
: to hold back (as from a reluctance to offend) a remark one would like to make
bite the bullet
: to enter with resignation upon a difficult or distressing course of action
bite the dust
1
: to fall dead especially in battle
2
a
: to suffer humiliation or defeat
b
: to come to an end
bite the hand that feeds one
: to injure a benefactor maliciously

Examples of bite in a Sentence

Verb The hamster bit the child. She bit the cookie in half. Some people bite their nails when they feel nervous. A wild animal may bite if it is frightened. The patient had been bitten by a poisonous snake. The mosquitoes are biting tonight. Are the fish biting today? Noun He ate the candy bar in three quick bites. She gave her lip a gentle bite. The fisherman felt a bite at the end of his line and reeled in a fish. My teenage daughter wears a special device at night to correct her bite. Don't scratch that mosquito bite.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Early stage Lyme symptoms include headaches, flu-like symptoms, joint pain, fatigue and sometimes a rash that has many different shapes including one which may look like a bullseye centered on the tick bite. Vanessa Etienne, Peoplemag, 16 July 2024 Both are great options for backcountry hiking — and look good enough to wear for a bite after your hike. Taylor Fox, Travel + Leisure, 16 July 2024 Following a spate of shark bites last summer, a similar effort was launched by officials on Long Island. CBS News, 12 July 2024 The tour includes four stops for cocktails, bourbon, and an assortment of small bites. Gege Reed, The Courier-Journal, 12 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for bite 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bite.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English biten, going back to Old English bītan, going back to Germanic *bītan- (whence Old Saxon bītan "to bite, cut into," Old High German bīzan, Old Norse bíta, Gothic beitan), going back to Indo-European *bhei̯d- "split," whence also Latin findere "to split, cleave, divide" (from a derivative *bhi-n-d-), Sanskrit abhet "has split," bhinátti "(s/he) splits" and perhaps Greek pheídomai, pheídesthai "to spare, save, refrain from"

Noun

derivative of bite entry 1

First Known Use

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of bite was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near bite

Cite this Entry

“Bite.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bite. Accessed 25 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

bite

1 of 2 verb
bit ˈbit How to pronounce bite (audio) ; bitten ˈbit-ən How to pronounce bite (audio) ; biting ˈbīt-iŋ How to pronounce bite (audio)
1
: to seize, grip, or cut into with or as if with teeth
bite an apple
2
: to wound, pierce, or sting
bitten by a snake
a mosquito bit me
3
: to cause to smart : sting
pepper bites the mouth
4
: to eat into
acid biting into metal
5
: to take bait
the fish are biting
6
: to respond to something tempting

bite

2 of 2 noun
1
a
: a seizing of something by biting
b
: the grip taken in biting
2
a
: the amount of food taken at a bite
b
: a small amount of food : snack
3
: a wound made by biting
4
: a sharp penetrating quality or effect
the bite of the cold wind on our cheeks
Etymology

Verb

Old English bītan "to bite, grip with the teeth" — related to beetle

Medical Definition

bite

1 of 2 verb
bit ˈbit How to pronounce bite (audio) ; bitten ˈbit-ᵊn How to pronounce bite (audio) also bit; biting ˈbīt-iŋ How to pronounce bite (audio)

transitive verb

1
: to seize especially with teeth or jaws so as to enter, grip, or wound
2
: to wound, pierce, or sting especially with a fang or a proboscis

intransitive verb

: to bite or have the habit of biting something

bite

2 of 2 noun
1
: the act or manner of biting
especially : occlusion sense 2a
2
: a wound made by biting

More from Merriam-Webster on bite

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!